Nursing Home Sued After Wrongful Death

A man died two days after tipping over in his wheelchair near a nurse’s station in a nursing home. Now the man’s estate is suing the nursing home, saying that his wrongful death was due to elderly negligence. The lawyer’s assert that the home did not provide the man with adequate supervision when they failed to provide visual checks and appropriate restraints. The nursing home did not have an anti-tipping precaution, which is common in nursing homes that prevent nursing home negligence. The state’s department of health has now downgraded the nursing home’s license. Taking precautions will greatly reduce the number of falls that occur at nursing homes. To read more about the wrongful death, please click the link.

Nursing Home Accountability Discussed

As a generation of baby boomers begins retiring it has became apparent that the size of the disabled older population who will need assisted or nursing home care will grow by more than 50 percent between 2000 and 2040. This has prompted many entrepreneurs to look at nursing homes as long-term investments. However, this makes it much more difficult for any victim of nursing home negligence or abuse to hold an entity accountable. Many of the current companies owning nursing homes have limited liability, making it difficult for an individual resident to hold the company accountable. Nursing home legislation must be formatted in order to make nursing home operators more accountable and their operations more transparent. Anyone who has a loved one in a nursing home should contact their legislature pushing for more accountability in nursing home legislation. To read more about nursing home accountability, please click the link.

Nursing Home Choking Death Leads to Fines from State

A nursing home was recently fined $50,000 after a resident choked to death while under the care of the home. After an investigation into his case, health officials concluded that his death was the result of the nursing home's failure to properly assess his ability to consume solid foods. As a result of this nursing home negligence, he choked to death before nursing home staff could dislodge the food. The nursing home attorneys of Levin & Perconti have handled similar cases in which nursing homes failed to accommodate the special dietary of their residents, thereby leading to choking or other injuries. Click on the link to read the full account of this nursing home choking death.

Update on “Angel of Death” Case against McHenry County Nursing Home

Yesterday, Illinois State Police investigators testified that a former nursing home supervisor at Woodstock Residence was aware that a fellow nurse was administering fatal doses of morphine to four residents of the nursing home. According to police testimony, several nurses came to Penny Whitlock to make her aware of what Marty Himebaugh, the “Angel of Death”, was doing, but Whitlock did not report it to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Because of this neglect, she faces charge of criminal neglect and obstructing justice.

Chicago nursing home lawyer Steve Levin of Levin & Perconti currently represents the family of one of Himebaugh’s victims. Levin filed a civil lawsuit last September against Woodstock Residence, Himebaugh and Whitlock.

To read more about the Angel of Death criminal lawsuit, follow the link.

Elder Abuse Lawyer Files Complaint against Negligent Home

Family members of an 84-year-old victim of nursing home negligence filed a wrongful death lawsuit recently on her behalf. The lawsuit alleges that she died as a result of the nursing home’s failure to prevent pressure sores, failure to properly feed and hydrate her, and failure to treat her stomach pain. The lawsuit also alleges that the nursing home did not properly maintain medical records. The victim’s family filed the lawsuit to raise awareness surrounding nursing home abuse and neglect. To read more about this nursing home lawsuit, please follow the link provided.

Support Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009 (S. 512/H.R. 1237)

Last week, two of the country’s largest arbitration firms said they are no longer handling consumer arbitration cases. In the Wall Street Journal, Ed Mierzwinski of U.S. PIRG said “In the long run, I think that this is the beginning of the end of forced arbitration in all consumer contracts, from credit cards, to nursing homes to cell phones.”

While this development is encouraging, it is still important to speak out in support of the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009. This Act would invalidate all current and future arbitration agreements that many people entering into nursing homes and assisted living facilities unknowingly sign. These agreements take away one’s right to argue their case in front of a jury. Follow the link to learn more about nursing home arbitration. To find out how to contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators to show your support for this bill, click here.

Son Charged with Financial Abuse of an Elder

A man has been charged for financially exploiting his 77-year-old mother who suffered from dementia and was living in a nursing home. Since she moved into the nursing home 18 months ago, her 54-year-old son began cashing her pension checks, took out a reverse mortgage on her home, and wrote checks to himself for large sums of money. He was often seen accompanying his mother to the bank across the street where he would cash these checks. Bank officials noticed this suspicious activity and contacted police, who arrested him on one of his trips to the bank. This kind of financial exploitation targeting the elderly frequently happens when people take advantage of an older person’s weak physical or mental state. To read more about this case of elderly financial abuse, follow the link.

How to Recognize Elder Abuse

According to a recent article, The National Center on Elder Abuse has estimated that among people 65 years and older, 1 to 2 million have been abused or exploited. In order to protect this vulnerable population, it is important to understand the various forms of elder abuse and to be able to recognize these issues. Some types of elder abuse include financial exploitation, self-neglect or caregiver negligence, and physical abuse. An article in the Bend Bulletin offers an in- depth explanation of the different types of elder abuse, along with ways to spot and prevent abuse from happening to a loved one. Follow the link to view the entire article on recognizing elder abuse.

Nursing Home Faces Allegations of Elder Neglect

Allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect have prompted state investigators to review the case. The 87-year-old victim died on July 10, less than two months after being admitted to the nursing home. Investigators are currently trying to discover whether nursing home neglect contributed to his death. Several weeks before his death, police were called to the nursing home amid concerns over the victim’s wounds. The following day, state health officials began to investigate. To read more about the allegations of nursing home negligence, follow the link.

Nursing Home Administrators See Largest Salary Gain in Recent Years

Despite an economic recession and slower compensation gains for nurses, it appears that nursing home administrators’ salaries rose this year to the highest rate in four years. Nursing home administrator salaries have jumped by an average of 4.8%, according to a report by the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service. Many nursing home administrators earn over $80,000, with the average salary rising from $85,464 to $89,606. To read more about the nursing home administrator salary increase, please click the link.

Elderly Abuse Difficult to Prosecute

While getting victims to report elderly abuse is difficult, it seems that persuading the judicial system of its seriousness is even more difficult. Some district attorneys believe that elder abuse cases are not considered severe. He states that financial exploitation is even more difficult to prosecute. Elders deal with embarrassment and shame after any type of abuse. Law enforcement officials say crimes against the elderly are often easy to dismiss because of their age. Programs designed to combat nursing home abuse are also under budget crunches. To read more about the elderly abuse, please click the link.

Recession Affecting Illinois Nursing Home

A Champaign County, Illinois Nursing Home found an 8 percent decline in patient census and revenue in the month of June alone. The average census of residents is now at 180, compared to the highest of 186. The nursing home’s budget crisis has made it impossible to repay any of their debt to the county. Despite the struggles, small numbers in nursing homes may decrease nursing home negligence. To read more about the budget crisis, please click the link.

Nursing Home Employee Accused of Rape

An employee at a nursing home accused of raping a patient is facing felony charges. The man was charged with second-degree rape, a felony, and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. The man is accused of having sexual intercourse with a female patient who has a mental disability. The woman’s mental condition made it unable to consent to the intercourse, making it rise to level of sexual abuse. If you or a family member has been a victim of nursing home abuse, please find an Illinois lawyer. To read more about the sexual abuse, please click the link.

Nursing Home Employee Charged with forgery

Three people associated with a nursing home reported checks being stolen from their checkbooks, and an employee of that nursing home was arrested in connection with the nursing home thefts and forgery. The employee was arrested and charged with eight counts of forgery. The woman was employed by the nursing home when she allegedly stole the checks. Police say that the man stole the checks from the checkbook of a patient, the patient’s sister and a former patient the employee had met through the nursing home and for whom she worked privately. The nursing home employee turned herself into the police after the financial exploitation. If you or a loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, find an Illinois lawyer. To read more about the nursing home fraud, please click the link.

Registration Open for AAJ’s Litigating Nursing Home Cases Seminar

American Association for Justice’s Litigating Nursing Home Cases Seminar is scheduled for October 17-18 in Chicago, Illinois. The program, which is a “must” for new nursing home negligence attorneys, is an invaluable resource for plaintiff attorneys. Register by Friday, September 11 and save $50 off the registration fee. The two-day seminar discusses the asphyxia case, electronic medical research and medical malpractice. The nursing home abuse seminar takes place at the Hotel Allegro. To read more about the seminar, visit the AAJ’s website.

Illinois Agencies Shed Light on Elder Abuse

According to the estimates by the Illinois Department on Aging, as many as 80,000 people are victims of elderly abuse each year. Due to these staggering numbers, the Department has declared July to be Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Along with them, McHenry County state’s attorney Louis Bianchi has been working with the elderly on a local level through presentations and distributing information packets. The two groups point out that elder abuse, defined as neglect, physical injury, mental, sexual or financial abuse, often goes unreported because the elderly are too embarrassed or unsure of what to do. One of the biggest forms of abuse fails in financial exploitation, especially due to the faltering economy. To read more about ways to prevent elderly abuse, please click the link.

Woman Files Nursing Home Negligent Lawsuit against Owner for $2.9 million

A woman is suing the owner of two assisted living facilities for more than $2.9 million in damages, alleging he violated state regulations by using her personal checking account for nearly 5 years. The woman was a resident in two assisted living facilities during the five year span. The nursing home negligence lawsuit alleged violations began when the owner obtained the victim’s power of attorney, and then began making deposits into and withdrawals from her personal checking account. The financial exploitation in question range from small amounts to larger denominations of well over $1,000. The man was using the elderly woman’s account as his own personal bank account. The nursing home negligence lawsuit states that the owner unlawfully mingled his personal and business funds with his assets. Additionally, the suit alleges that the victim was not given access to her account records and she was not given identification when she was allowed to read the nursing home. Financial exploitation of the elderly has become all too commonplace at nursing homes throughout the country. To read more about the nursing home lawsuit, please click the link.

Nursing Home Patient Claims Abuse by Nurse’s Aide

A 92-year-old World War II veteran living in a nursing home claims he was assaulted last month by a nurse’s aide. The man claims the elderly abuse occured when he was assaulted during the early-morning hours by a female employee, who allegedly grabbed the resident by his ears and began slamming his head into the mattress. The man suffers from dementia and Parkinson’s disease. The allegation is that the victim suffered severe lacerations to his ears and was not properly treated for days. If you or a loved one has experienced elderly abuse, please contact an Illinois lawyer. To read more about the nursing home abuse, please click the link.

Family Accuses Illinois Nursing Home of Abuse

The family of a disabled man and woman filed a nursing home abuse lawsuit against a Norridge, Illinois nursing home claiming the victim was physically assaulted multiple times during her stay at the facility. The four-count lawsuit also claims the man was given incorrect medications. The two elderly people, who were both disabled, were admitted to the Illinois nursing home in 2004. The nursing home abuse lawsuit claims that the woman was physically abused and assaulted in her room. The lawsuit does not name a specific person who allegedly assaulting the woman, but claims employees of the facility was responsible for the elderly abuse. The nursing home abuse lawsuit also claims that the man was given incorrect medication causing him “physical illness and harm.” To read more about the Illinois abuse, please click the link.

Illinois Nursing Home Committee Chairman Discusses Sex Abuse Report

The Illinois nursing home committee chairman whose home has recently been accused of having 10 nursing home residents sexually abused agreed to talk to reporters about the allegations. He stated that after reading the report that continued the elderly abuse allegations he contacted fellow board members to determine what to do. They drew up a plan of corrections to deal with the abuse. He blames a breakdown in communication for the abuse. The county has not made a decision on whether to challenge the Illinois Department of Public Health’s decision. This incident of Illinois sexual abuse was quite shocking to the community. To read more about the nursing home interview, please click the link.

Pressure Ulcer Prevention Diet

Studies show that malnourished residents are twice as likely as well-nourished ones to develop pressure ulcers. Experts believe that good nutrition is an integral part of pressure ulcer management. Experts say that consuming an adequate number of calories to meet the body’s needs is imperative to maintaining good nutritional status. The recommended amount of calories is 30 to 35 calories/kg/day for pressure ulcer patients and those at risk of developing a pressure ulcer. This is because when the body is put under stress, it will break down protein from its store of lean body mass. The resultant weight loss and depletion of visceral protein stores is associated with an increased risk of pressure ulcer development. Research also shows that decreased protein is the only nutrient that significantly predicts ulcer development. Research supports the fact that sufficient intake of protein, calories, vitamins and fluids is essential to preventing skin breakdown. To read more about the pressure ulcer study, please visit the huntleigh website.

Letter to Support Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act

As mentioned in an earlier post, it is crucial to show our support for the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act. The NCCNHR has posted a letter on their website that people can send to their Senators in support of this important nursing home legislation. This legislation would hold nursing home corporations accountable for poor quality care by requiring them to disclose important information on their management structures. It would also disclose staffing and turnover information which would help families to get a better sense of the quality of care their loved ones would receive. Learn more about the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act. To access the NCCNHR letter in support of the bill, click here.

Results of First Nursing Assistant Survey Published

A 2004-2005 National Nursing Assistant Survey, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was recently published. The first-ever survey was designed to provide information needed to recruit, retain and expand the direct care workface. Some of the characteristics the survey examined include demographics, career decisions, work experience and training, pay and benefits, work environment, home environment, injuries and vaccinations. Almost half of all CNAs are members of a minority group with their median hourly wage was $10.04. 16 percent had no health insurance and more than half were injured on the job at least once during the previous year. The Gerontologist hopes that the survey “represents a major advance in the data available about CNAs in nursing homes and provides a rich resource for evidence- based policy, practice, and applied research initiatives recruitment and retention efforts.” Hopefully, this report will help Illinois nursing homes decrease elderly abuse and neglect. To read the nursing home study, please click the link.

Illinois Nursing Home Allowed Sexual Abuse

The LaSalle County Nursing Home failed to prevent a male resident from sexually abusing 10 female residents and positioning others, some who couldn’t speak or suffered from dementia, according to allegations in a report from the Illinois Department of Health. The report highlights the sexual abuse that included the male resident touching female residents’ breasts, trying to kiss them and cursing about sex in nursing home common areas. The man would target those with dementia to exploit. The alleged elderly abuse began in December and lasted until June 5, when the male resident was moved to an inpatient psychiatric unit. The report states that it was the nursing home negligence which is of greatest blame in the sexual abuse case. The Illinois nursing home refused to comment about the alleged elderly abuse. To read more about the sexual abuse, please click the link.

National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Puts out Newsletter

The NCCNHR’s monthly newsletter is focusing on ways to survive nursing home budget cuts. Also the newsletter discusses ways that ombudsmen are trying to combat elderly abuse. The bill touches on state’s nursing home legislation including Illinois’s laws voiding arbitration agreement. The NCCNHR is committed to the furtherance of senior’s rights in long-term health facilities. To read the entire newsletter, please click the link.

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Urges New Legislation

When Congress returns, the health care reform battle will begin in earnest. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is urging the public to keep up the pressure and intensify efforts so that the nursing home legislation will be passed. The NAELA hopes that people will call their U.S. Senators and Representative in early July to voice their support for action on comprehensive health reform, and to urge the inclusion of supports and services for individuals in need of long-term care in any health care bill. Nursing home legislation is imperative to ensuring the health of our elder community. To read more about the nursing home legislation, please click the link.

NCCNHR Advocacy Efforts Move Forward to Pass Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act

After US House and Senate members return from the July 4 recess next week to begin writing their final health care reform bills. The NCCNHR is pushing that nursing home legislation be an important part of that bill. At the White House, the NCCNHR is urging the Obama Administration to support the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement provisions in health care reform. They are also meeting daily will congressional staff urging them to include nursing home in health care reform. Hopefully, the bill will contain provisions that require nursing homes to do more for quality assurance internally. Also, the bill should include dementia care and elder abuse prevention. The NCCNHR is urging people to call their congress members, send emails and write letters in order to pass the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act. To read more about what you can do, please visit the NCCNHR website.

Chicago Nursing Home Fails Sprinkler Test

The Grove at Lincoln Park may have a five star rating, but it also has seven fire-related violations including sprinklers that were not maintained in working order. The Arbour Health Care Center also received a five-star rating, despite an inspection last year that turned up four fire deficiencies. These Chicago nursing homes are rated as the top homes in Chicago, yet have serious safety issues. Medicare officials say that they have received many complaints about the rating systems, especially the failure to include data on satisfaction. In fact, the formula for ranking nursing homes does not include so-called “life safety code” violations, including fire code violations. Fires can easily start in crowded areas after nursing home negligence. To read more about the fire violations, please click the link.

Three Illinois Nursing Homes Receive High Marks

U.S. News and World Report recently unveiled the Best Nursing Homes Honor Roll, a list of nursing homes throughout the country that received five-star ratings in health inspections, staffing, and quality measures resident care. The list is part of the magazine’s larger efforts to rate nursing homes across the United States. Three Illinois nursing homes made the Honor Roll, including one in Belleville, a facility in Barrington and a nursing home in Chicago. The list is a useful tool for families who are faced with choosing a nursing home for a loved one. It is important to research nursing homes to make a well-educated decision about a loved one’s’ care. This research can reveal whether a home has been cited for nursing home abuse and will also provide insight into things like staffing levels and resident activities. Click on nursing home honor roll to see the full list.

Study Shows that More Mentally Ill are Admitted to Nursing Homes than Those with Dementia

A recent nursing home population analysis found that the number of first-time nursing home residents admitted with mental illness has far surpassed the number of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The number of nursing home residents admitted with a mental illness rose from 168,721 to 187,478. That is more than 50% more than those admitted dementia only, which considers many mental illnesses. Unfortunately, many patients fall victims to elderly abuse at the hands of other mentally ill patients. This type of nursing home abuse occurs throughout the country, including here in Chicago, Illinois. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.

Study Warns of Hazards for Elderly Using Walking Aids

A study shows that about 47,000 elderly Americans are treated in emergency rooms each year from falls associated with walkers and canes. An epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that walking aids can be a hazard if not used properly. The study found that 87 percent of fall injuries involved walkers and 12 percent involved canes. A statistical analysis estimates that there are 47,312 falls a year that involve a cane or walker. Sixteen percent of the falls involving walkers occurred at nursing homes. Doctors should consider taking more time to show patients how to use walkers properly and that additional research could lead to design improvements for walking aids. To read more about the fall study, please click the link.

Jury Awards a Groundbreaking Verdict in Elder Abuse and Neglect Case

A jury as unanimously awarded a plaintiff nearly $1.34 million for the reckless nursing home abuse and neglect that the suffered in the hands of her nursing home provided. The jury awarded $88,000 for past medical bills, $500,000 in general damages and $750,000 in punitive damages. The victim suffered from Alzheimer’s and required intense management due to her frequency of falling. However, the woman suffered three falls at the hands of the nursing home staff. She suffered a head contusion, three broken ribs and a punctured lung. The victims hope that this judgment will make facilities take notice to the importance of proper staffing when dealing with the elderly. If you or a loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, find an Illinois lawyer. To read more about the nursing home lawsuit, please click the link.

Appellate Court Recognizes New Cause of Action for Civil Rights Violations at Nursing Home

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Federal Nursing Home Reform Amendments give residents of county-run nursing homes the right to bring civil rights claims under Section 1983 to challenge the quality of their treatment. The court says that these provisions make clear that nursing homes must provide a basic level of service and care for residents and Medicaid patients. Under this law, nursing homes “are required to care for residents in a manner promoting quality of life, provide services and activities to maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of residents. The ruling revives a suit by the estate of a woman who died in the nursing home as a result of elderly neglect, malnourishment and bed sores that were so severe they led to a fatal case of sepsis. This nursing home decision will greatly impact nursing home negligence lawsuits. To read more about the appellate decision, please click the link.

NCCNHR Examines the Role of Nurses in Nursing Home “Culture Change”

The National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform has joined with Geriatric Nursing Centers in order to develop quality care for Nursing Homes. The important and complex role of nursing in culture change is examined in the newly released issue paper entitled Nurses’ Involvement in Nursing Home Culture Change: Overcoming Barriers, Advancing Opportunities. The paper discusses the idea that in nursing homes, the movement away from institutional provider-driven models of care to more humane consumer-driven models of care that embrace flexibility and resident self-determination has come to be known as culture change. The NCCHNR is striving hard to adhere to the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 which states that each resident must provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.

Nursing Home is Cited after Resident wasn’t Helped after Fall

A nursing home that caters to those with Alzheimer’s disease has been cited for the second time in five months for endangering the lives of residents by failing to property care for them. The nursing home received a “Type A” citation, which is the most serious, and a fine for $5,000 after the nursing home negligence. Investigators found that a resident was injured in the early morning after a fall and did not receive medical attention for injuries until family members arrived that afternoon and demanded that a doctor be called. Despite complaining of pain and stating that she believed she had a broken bone, the resident wasn’t seen by a physician until 3, almost 12 hours after her fall. The resident was taken to a hospital emergency room, where she was treated for a pelvic fracture, low blood pressure and a laceration on her elbow that required stitches. Investigators found that the nursing home failed to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of that resident and two others who had been injured in falls. To read more about the nursing home negligence, please click the link.

Nurse’s Assistant Pleads Guilty to Abusing Patient

A nurse’s assistant admitted Friday she abused a patient in her care at a nursing home. The woman pled guilty to one count of misdemeanor abuse of a vulnerable adult. The nursing assistant had physically abused a patient by striking their buttocks. The patient was bruised and “visibly shaken by the event” but “wasn’t seriously injured physically.” The nursing home had dismissed the employee once the report of elderly abuse was entered. The assistant’s name will put her on a registry prohibiting her from working at any care facility accepting Medicaid for at least five years. Nursing home abuse can occur everywhere, including Chicago, Illinois. To read more about the physical abuse, please click the link.